Organizations leaders face new and hard threats which oblige them to be innovative, it is obvious that innovation has always been at the heart of business, but until now not at the top of the management agenda. (Bouhali et all, 2015). The healthcare industry in essence is like an empire, and the rise and fall of all great empires is irrevocably tied to its leader.
The world always had examples of great leaders, be it from ancient myth, historic records, or the modern millennia. But what makes these leaders great? Is it the decisions that they made which changed the course of history or the charisma that they exudate which makes people follow them? There is no right or wrong answer, but most can agree that all good leaders had a weapon on their side, a simple yet crucial arsenal called innovation which help to immortalize their names in the sands of time.
Technological giants like Jobs had Apple II and Gates had Windows. Healthcare leader like Kaplan had the Virginal Mason Production System (VMPS), a long-term philosophy with the understanding that as organizations eliminate waste, they improve quality and safety and control costs. (Kaplan, 2020). Unlike a revolutionary product that was brought to market, healthcare leaders would leave a legacy of standard operating procedures like the VMPS to not only better the lives and work conditions of their employees but more importantly it is for the betterment of their main clientele, patients who needs treatment and care.
All are ideas sparked to life that brought innovation to their respective sectors and future template for their organisation to follow or improve upon. But how exactly does is this piece of vitality brought to fruition? Some start like a lightbulb or a moment of eureka that might cause us to run outside our bathtub in excitement. Others can be inspired from an existing concept which they will expand and improve upon and as Picasso once said, ‘good artist copy, great artist steal’. Regardless of the origin of the next big thing, one thing for certain is that innovation cannot manifest without proper planning. Innovation is distinguished from creativity by the implementation, as opposed to mere generation of ideas (Rosing et all, 2011).
“Failure to plan is planning to fail” is a quote that we have heard from childhood and albeit the glaring statement, many might choose to ignore or undermine it. One of the methods for captains of industries to ensure that their idea is brought to reality is by using strategic planning. In a nutshell, strategic planning is “an organized process through which the organization’s leaders may take decision regarding this institution’s future and development, in addition to following up on the required procedure and measures towards achieving the desired future and finding methods to measure the success of these operations’ execution” (Al-Zboon and Hasan 2011).
Events of recent years has also thought us that change can happen in an instance. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has not only alter the landscape of healthcare but also thought us to be vigilant and adaptive to change. For a healthcare industry to strive in these modern times, not only must we offer impeccable health services, but we also must provide what all great leaders of history has, the machinations of innovation.
Dr. Omar Mazali bin Mohamed
University Malaya Medical Centre